Buti nang sigurado! Berna Romulo Puyat suspends ‘Buhay Carinderia,’ asks for COA audit
Tourism Secretary Berna Romulo Puyat has ordered the suspension of the Tourism Promotion Board’s “Buhay Carinderia” project amid questions over its implementation.
In an interview over dzBB radio Thursday (May 17), Puyat said she will not proceed with the project until the Commission on Audit (COA) gives its approval.
“I don’t want to proceed with the program until may go signal ako ng COA,” she said. “I will suspend it.”
Politiko obtained a copy of the letter Puyat sent to COA chairman Michael Aguinaldo seeking a review of “Buhay Carinderia” and all other TPB projects that will be implemented this year.
“Kindly conduct an audit of the programs listed therein,” the Tourism Secretary asked COA.
Attached to Puyat’s letter is another letter from TPB Chief Operating Officcer Montano, where he asked the Department of Tourism (DOT) to conduct a joint review of the board’s projects for 2018 and 2019.
“Buhay Carinderia” has come under scrutiny after Philippine Star columnist Boo Chanco revealed that TPB already paid its organizer P80 million in three installments even if the project hasn’t started yet.
This goes against the normal practice of paying project organizers in tranches, with the final payment being made when it is already completed.
“Buhay Carinderia,” a brainchild of businesswoman Linda Legaspi, will feature chef Erwan Heussaff training the spotlight on local eateries.
Puyat said Montano told her that it was the normal practice in TPB to sponsor projects without going through public bidding.
She, however, said she will not allow the practice to continue.
“Maybe ‘yan ang ginagawa sa TPB pero ‘di ako kumportable. Kahit P1 million ‘yan dapat bini-bidding,” Puyat said, adding that she will make public bidding the standard practice in all projects of rhe DOT and its attached agencies.